Like the sun that rises each day, happiness can be a consistent and reliable part of your daily life.
As we embrace the New Year and the parade of resolutions it brings, instead of looking at the typical choices we think will lead us to the Holy Grail of happiness, why not choose happiness as a resolution? It is what I am choosing as my resolution this year and so can you.
As a nutrition and fitness expert, I get to hear and if I’m being transparent, capitalize on each new year, the number one most popular resolution in America. What do Americans resolve more than making more money, quitting smoking, and having more free time?
Given my fields of expertise, you probably guessed losing weight and you would be right. Why is this the most popular resolution each year? Is it because close to 70% of the population is overweight or obese? Is it because people feel the social stigma of being “heavy” and/or being perceived as lazy with no self-discipline? Is it because more and more people are discovering the negative health consequences of being overweight, especially on life expectancy?
All of these undoubtedly play a mindful role in the countless weight loss resolutions made each year, but at the deepest level, under all the surface thoughts, people ultimately desire happiness. While there are many physiological reasons losing weight can contribute to positive brain chemistry, it unfortunately is not a guaranteed ticket to being happy.
Likewise there is sufficient evidence that many people crave and consume certain foods to feel happy. Unfortunately as we have all undoubtedly realized, food as a Happiness drug is a temporary and often guilt-laden fix.
What’s a better solution? Choosing happiness in and of itself. Speaking from personal experience, this is easier said than done. Despite even the best intentions and years (decades in my case) of self-improvement training, just one small discouraging comment from a trusted friend or a quick login to our bank account can easily derail our happiness train.
So how can you choose happiness knowing our fickle, fleeting, and futile human nature? I was going to share the insights I’ve learned in my own pursuit of happiness, but I’m going to do everyone reading this a HUGE favor and share something much, much better than I could ever put to digital paper.
While an internet search may cloud the source and timing of its origin, until convinced otherwise, I am attributing the following timeless lessons on happiness to Pope Francis. Regardless of the source, the words, when taken to heart, consumed into your soul, and put into daily practice will go a long way in “TrYumphing” your pursuit of happiness. Savor the flavor of this eloquent dish!
Pope Francis on Happiness
“You can have flaws, be anxious, and ever angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you.
Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.
To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord.
It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness.
It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity.
Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves.
To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author.
It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life.
Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a “no”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified.
It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.
To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple.
It is to have maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”. It is to have the courage to say “I am sorry”. It is to have the sensitivity to say, “I need you”. It is to have the ability to say “I love you”.
May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness … That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life.
You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculpter serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence.
Never give up …. Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.”
I hope these words are transformational in your life. These words, like wisdom, only serve a purpose when applied and put into practice. Revisit them often as I plan to do.
I resolve to be happy this year and if you do too, I hope this found you sooner than later.
Stay Happy my friends,
Coach Matt O’Brien